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Old Jan 5, 2006, 11:16 AM   #11
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Linuxidiot-

Thanks for jumping in, we always enjoy adding to the discussion.

Here is the deal. If you want to consider low light level you need a digital camera that is capable of higher ISO (film speed) numbers. Currently Fuji digital camera have a real lock on that portion of the digital camera market.

The Low light level digital cameras produced by Fuji are:

Fuji Z-1 and Z-2*- small very thin 3X optical zoom, capable of ISO 1600 maximum

Fuji F-10/F-11**-compact, 3x optical zoom, capable of ISO 1600 maximum

Fuji E-900- compact, 4X optical zoom, capable of ISO 800 maximum

Fuji S-5200/S-9000- larger compact, SLR style, 10X optical zoom, ISO 1600 max

* The Z-2 will not be available till late February or March 2006

** The F-11 is not currently sold in the USA.

Another very nice feature of these Fuji cameras is their Natural Light Mode which really helps low light level photos.

W're open to any questions you might have.

MT
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Old Jan 5, 2006, 1:12 PM   #12
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mtclimber, that picture with no flash seems very noisy to me, I see you used iso1600.

Nobody has mentioned DSLR's, I bring this up since I am looking to upgrade to a Minolta 5D primarily to reduce noise, and for better image quality.

Does anyone have a similar sample image to share taken with a DSLR (rebel xt, 5d, etc) at iso1600?

With better flash options and more capable sensors it seems like they would fit Randy's requirements too?
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Old Jan 7, 2006, 6:40 PM   #13
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tmoreau-

OK, here is ISO 1600, no flash with a Pentax 1st DS. Comments?

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Old Jan 8, 2006, 6:06 PM   #14
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I was hoping to see a noticeable difference, that looks really good. The more I notice noise, the more it bothers me, but I've been worried that the investment is a DSLR wouldnt be worth it.

I have an A1 now, which has been a wonderful camera, but I kind of wish I would have just gone DSLR up front.

Thanks for the sample pics mtclimber
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Old Jan 9, 2006, 5:54 AM   #15
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Unfortunately, the Fuji F11 is not available in the US and the F10 has almost no manual controls.

There are rumors (supposedly spoken by Fuji Reps at CES) that a new compact F30 will be coming to the USA that will have Image Stabilization (first for Fuji) and ISO 3200.

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Old Jan 9, 2006, 9:13 AM   #16
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vissa-

I have also heard the same report. If it were true, the supposed F-30 would be quite a camera. I love my F-10, and will happily wait for developments.

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Old Jan 9, 2006, 9:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
………and the manual flash is a pain - I'm going to forget to put it on, I know I will!
My two large cameras have a flash you raise and lower manually. I wish all cameras had that. One of the disadvantages of pocket cameras is that you have to scroll through useless flash modes to turn the flash on an off and you have to shade them in the sun so you can see to get fill flash. I leave the flash on in the menu and raise and lower the flash when I want it. The only time a camera of mine has been in auto flash is by accident – I either want flash or I don't. Raising and lowering the flash is faster and more reliable and I don't have to consult menus.

Quote:
no flash shots end up disasterous when changing settings.
Other than raise the ISO there isn't any setting that will improve on what auto has selected. The lens is all the way open and it is giving you all of the shutter speed available for the light. There isn't a magic setting that will get around that.

Quote:
I know the Fuji has a type of image stabilizer and seems to do well at higher iso.
Some Fuji cameras might have digital stabilization, which is only slightly mores useful than digital zoom. But none have true optical stabilization. What Fuji does have is excellent in-camera noise reduction software. The F10 combines that with a sensor that is also better than average at higher ISO, which gives you good available light capability. The Fuji 9000/9500 has the wide angle you want combined with a long zoom range. The sensor is very noisy if you shoot in raw – dpreview suggests you might want to apply noise reduction to raw images shot at ISO80. But if you shoot JPG the in-camera noise reduction gives you good images through ISO400. It isn't nearly as good at that as the F10/11, but it has the other features you want.

Optical stabilization is superior to high ISO if the subject isn't moving. But optical stabilization helps only for hand movement and does nothing for subject motion. The new Sony T9 combines good in-camera noise reduction with optical stabilization. High ISO noise is about as good or slightly better than the Fuji Z1, which isn't great but better than average. Combined with optical stabilization it gives decent low light capability. Unfortunately it is a tiny point and shoot with no viewfinder other than the LCD. But it is an indication that at least Sony is getting the message. I think I would prefer it to the F10/11. The control setup is a lot better and the LCD is much better quality and better in sunlight. You would give up some capability shooting motion in limited light compared to the F10, but optical stabilization would give better shots of static subjects. And a combination of ISO400 and optical stabilization would be great in limited light. http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/sony/dsc_t9-review/

The A2 has the best EVF around by far. They are in short supply in the US and the prices have gone back up. They got pretty cheap when the A200 was released, but people realized it was a better camera than the A200 and the prices went back up as the supply diminished.

The best Panasonic for low light is the FZ20. It is almost an f-stop faster at zoom than the FZ30 and the sensor is less noisy. You still can't crank the ISO up very much though and the EVF is at the lower end in resolution and quality. The FZ30 has a better EVF.

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